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Subject: Mold


From: Robert Ellis Wynne-Jones <recordoffice>
Date: Tuesday, July 4, 2000
Julie Blyth <juliblyt [at] rph__health__wa__gov__au> writes

>    1.  If there is active mould in a collection, how quickly could
>        it be expected to spread to new materials?  We have found
>        what seem to be different varieties of mould and mildew on
>        bound journals which are more than ten years old; if there
>        is no mould on newer materials, does that mean it is
>        possible that the mould outbreak occurred in the past, and
>        is no longer active, or will it be a matter of months or
>        years before the mould becomes evident on new items?

The spread of mould within a collection often depends on the
humidity and the movement of air on which the spores will travel. It
is safe to say that if the journals are unprotected then the mould
spread will be higher due to the lack of a barrier on the journals.
To combat the problem the first job would be to invest in a
dehumidifier that will be effective against the humidity levels and
sustain a level of around 50% RH. Remember all dehumidifiers vary to
how much water they can condense in a given time. Secondly try a
give protection to the journals in the way of boxes or wrapping them
in archival paper. This will provide a suitable barrier until they
can be treated for mould presence.

An important note in the treatment of mould:

    1.  Always treat in a fume cupboard.
    2.  Wear protective clothing ie; mask, goggles, gloves etc.

>    2.  If an item is water-damaged (ie arrived wet in the post),
>        but was dry before being included in the library collection,
>        what is the danger of mould developing on the dry item?  I
>        assume that if the temperature and humidity are at
>        appropriate levels, there would be little danger of mould
>        developing once the item is dry--is this correct?

In reply to your second question the growth of mould can only take a
few hours, given the right climate, or a few weeks. It is best with
the said item to isolate in a box and monitor on a regular basis.
Mould can lie dormant and be re-activated by the right climate.

I hope this information helps.

Robert Wynne-Jones
Chester UK

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:3
                  Distributed: Thursday, July 6, 2000
                        Message Id: cdl-14-3-007
Received on Tuesday, 4 July, 2000

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